By LinkedIn Corp.
Free App (basic membership is free, however different rates of membership are not free)
LinkedIn is a social media cloud based professional networking tool, can be accessed from desktop via web browser or mobile app for any of the current smart device platform. Yes it is professional career networking tool, very popular in the commercial world, so why I am blogging about the tool for education. Well, quite simply it is the most effective alumina tool for course leaders, one that you can easily manage, administrate and utilise for communication. One I have used for quite few years.
For start I prefer to use LinkedIn on my iPad than a browser on my desktop, as it is more user friendly. The app enabled me to search more effectively for graduates from my course from over the last twelve years (I am course leader), and request to connect to them more easily. There have been a number of benefits of building up a very large personal connection library of very course and institutionally loyal ex-graduates, the experience has been mutually beneficial:
· I have been able to create course alumni enabling graduates to network with different graduate years, offer one another career opportunities, reconnect with lost friends and see how one another is progressing
· It has enabled me gain an understanding of their career profiles and employers post graduation, which has been helpful for course marketing to next generation of students.
· The graduates have been able to easily recruit placement students from myself from existing courses.
· The graduates have been able to communicate with myself of graduate opportunities, that I have been able to pass onto our final year students.
· When I needed guest speakers in different areas, a request to my connections meant I had an overwhelming response, in few days I had a semester worth of Guest Speakers.
· The graduates who are now in a position of influence can share professional employability requirements of future graduates both in terms of technical (sorry my course is in technical area) skills and employability skills.
· The graduates have been able to provide employer panel feedback on technical aspects of new course design for revalidation, subject areas that are up and coming need to be in the course design.
· The graduates in position of influence had the opportunity to offer services, software and equipment to the University for our Courses at cost, free or competitive prices.
· The graduates have offered to be mentors to existing students, powerful learning support methodology for students from low social economic backgrounds,  and potential method to develop students for graduate employment, 
To para phrase the advice given to my student (all levels) by a recent Guest Graduate Speaker;
“get yourself on LinkedIn, create a professional profile, connect with Anne and connect with them (Guest Speaker), start networking their career.”